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J Immunol. 2000 Jan 15;164(2):1096-102.

Differential roles of IL-18 in allergic airway disease: induction of eotaxin by resident cell populations exacerbates eosinophil accumulation.

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Department of Pathology, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Cytokine regulation during an allergic response can dictate the severity of the inflammation and resulting injury. In the present study, we have examined the systemic and local effects of IL-18, a Th1-associated cytokine, on a cockroach allergen-induced airway response. In initial studies, temporal increases in IL-18 levels were observed within the lungs. When IL-18 was neutralized systemically the allergen-associated eosinophil accumulation was significantly accelerated 5-fold by 8 h postchallenge, suggesting a regulatory role for IL-18. Recombinant IL-18 (200 ng) was instilled into the airway at the time of allergen challenge to examine whether a direct impact on local eosinophil accumulation could be induced. When IL-18 was instilled, a significant increase in peribronchial eosinophil accumulation was observed in allergic mice as well as in nonallergic mice. A possible mechanism was observed in a significant increase in eotaxin, but not other eosinophil chemotactic factors, in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid after IL-18 instillation. The role of eotaxin was confirmed using eotaxin -/- mice, which demonstrated significantly less eosinophil accumulation compared with littermate controls. IL-18 was subsequently shown to induce eotaxin production from bronchial epithelial cells and isolated macrophages in in vitro assays. The clinical relevance of these findings was determined in treated mice and demonstrated that neutralization of IL-18 exacerbated, whereas exogenous IL-18 had no effect on airway hyperreactivity. Altogether, these data demonstrate that IL-18 may have multiple functions during an immune response that differ depending upon the local or systemic effects.

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